We’re counting down to the start of training camp here by looking at some numbers that will be keys to the Redskins’ 2014 season.
21—Carries per game for Alfred Morris
For some reasons, the impression exists that Jay Gruden is a pass happy coach. The term is being thrown around a lot when talking about the fantasy prospects for the Redskins’ skill position players.
But Gruden’s offense in Cincinnati was far from pass heavy during the three years he was calling plays for the Bengals. The team attempted 1,764 passes during that time. That total tied for 19th-most in the NFL, exactly as many as, coincidentally, the Washington Redskins.
Gruden’s Bengals ran the ball 1,366 times. That was 11th in the NFL, just three carries behind, yes, the Redskins.
You can’t look at those numbers and come to the conclusion that Gruden’s offense is particularly reliant on the pass. To be sure, things may be different in Washington with a more naturally talented quarterback to work with than he had in Cincinnati. But there is no reason to believe that Gruden is going to go all Steve Spurrier on us and chuck the ball around the yard all game, every game. He is a believer in the importance of the running game and he won’t abandon it.
And that brings us to 21, the ideal number of carries per game for Alfred Morris in 2014. That comes to 336 carries over the course of a 16-game season. It’s one more rushing attempt than the 335 he had in his record-setting 2012 season when he ran for 1,615 yards.
Morris getting 21 carries per game would be a good thing for the Redskins on two sides of the coin. If he’s running effectively the offense will be moving the ball well. And if the Redskins have late leads, Morris will be racking up carries to move the chains and kill the clock.